Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 9/6/10

Every day, we count down the 1000 best albums of all time all the way to #1. Monday’s album is #876:

Onyx – All We Got Iz Us

Best remembered for their 1992 smash hit Throw Ya Gunz, New York rap quartet Onyx were one of the best of the groups from the last few years of hip-hop’s golden age. This 1995 album, their second, is a characteristically intense display of agile wordplay and in-your-face attitude spiced equally with gleeful humor and grim social-realist narratives. In an era of smart lyricists, Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr and Suave were three of the smartest. This one has the big apocalypse anthem Last Dayz; the title track, a bitter, fatalistic tribute to hoodlum solidarity; the irresistibly catchy, amusing smalltime crooks’ tale Purse Snatchaz, and one of the most astute revenge songs ever written, 2 Wrongs. Happily, Onyx weren’t dumped by their record label after a wildly successful debut like so many of their contemporaries and would remain on the front line of first-class rap for the better part of the decade; literally everything they did is worth owning, including Sticky Fingaz’ expansive 2001 solo debut, Blacktrash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones. Here’s a random torrent.

September 6, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rap music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review from the Archives: Canibus at Tramps, NYC 9/17/98

Got there on time, about quarter after nine. By the time I got inside (mega frisking – no great surprise, after all: this was a hip-hop show), McGruff was finishing up. He didn’t embarrass himself – it seems that Canibus is choosy about who rides with him. Surprisingly, the crowd wasn’t as energized as it usually is for hip-hop at this venue (one of the few in town south of 125th St. that’s willing to book rap at all). Canibus came on shortly therafter and delivered only a 30-minute set – the advantage for those who came out tonight was that nobody had to stand on the accursed floor here long enough for their feet to hurt). Although Canibus only has one album under his belt, he’s already in the upper echelon of rap lyricists. He also has a stage presence I’ve only seen in a few hip-hop artists: Chuck D, Ice-T and KRS-One. To drive home his talent, much of his show was just him rapping without any backing tape or support whatsoever: he’d do a verse, then they’d turn the DAT on again, then there’d be a pause (“Yo yo yo….”), then on with the show. His most impressive bit was a freestyle: again, without the DAT running. Other high points of the night were the acerbic, politically-charged Nigganometry from the new album, and then, predictably, his monster hit Second Round Knockout, to close the show. Mike Tyson didn’t show up to contribute anything. The sound was fantastic: you could hear every word, and the backing tape was pleasantly low in the mix, mostly low, computerized bass rather than the trebly, feedback-prone screech that it usually is here for rap shows. It’s unlikely that someone this talented and bound for stardom will be doing any more appearances at such a relatively small venue.

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment